There were cheers all round when the diggers moved in to begin work on a brand new housing scheme to build bungalows on a derelict site in Jarrow.
Local Councillors and people living nearby are delighted that Durham Aged Miners Homes Association (DAMHA) is starting to build 14 new homes for rent on the Lynton Avenue site.
Councillor Tom Hanson is delighted that the scheme has eventually got off the ground. He says: "Local Councillors have been campaigning for years to get something done about this site. It was previously used for council garages but nobody wanted them because of all the problems with vandalism. When they became empty the area became a magnet for vandalism, fly tipping and all kinds of other problems."
Councillor Hanson adds: "We have been in talks with the Durham Aged Miners Homes Association and their plans are fantastic, they are just what this area needs. This development is excellent news for local people - we've got an eyesore removed and brand new, affordable to rent, top quality bungalows being built in its place, what could be better than that!"
While 13 of the bungalows will have two bedrooms, one is a three-bedroom home specifically designed for wheelchair users. All will have double-glazing, gas central heating, modern standards of insulation and construction, fenced gardens and individual hardstanding areas for cars.
Working in partnership with the Council, DAMHA successfully bid to the Housing Corporation (the government agency that provides financial support for Housing Associations) for funding to support the project and the new homes will be completed in January next year.
Gordon Gray, Head of Housing and Development for DAMHA, says: "After a fairly lengthy period of negotiations setting up the scheme we are really pleased to have actually started work on site now and look forward to being able to provide some excellent bungalows for local people."
Councillor Peter Boyack, Lead Member for Neighbourhood Services adds: "In partnership with DAMHA the Council has worked hard to put this new housing scheme together. DAMHA has a strong history of providing this sort of accommodation in other parts of the region and we look forward to working with them for the benefit of our residents."